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The chequered history of the KoRn wardrobe is marked by various fashion experiments, brand endorsements and, of course, those shell suits...
LOOK #1 ADIDAS: That nu-metal haters such as Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson refer to the genre as "Adidas Rock" indicates how closely identified with the sound of down-tuned guitars the German sportswear company became in the mid 90's. Once again it was KoRn who single-handedly started the trend.
In the early days of their career, the Bakersfield boys were never seen without the company's trademark stripes adorning their bodies, with Jonathon Davis displaying his allegiance to the brand with a nice line in customised spangly tracksuits, (disparagingly referred to by guitarist Head as the singer's "fruit suit"). On "Life is Peachy," the band entitled one track "A.D.I.D.A.S.," and although Davis was at pains to point out that the song was not a direct tribute, but rather "about how my a pervert my ass is", the band's endorsement of the brand seemed complete.
When asked in 1997 if Adidas paid him for this inadvertent promotional work, Davis said, "I never really thought about it. I'm not Boris Becker or any other sports guy. Who cares anyway?".
Davis' sentiment looked a little less sure within a year, when seemingly every metal band - and fans from Manhattan to Manchester - was decked out dreadlocks-to-trainers in the brand. Typically, KoRn decided to move on...
LOOK #2 PUMA: Securing KoRn's endorsement for their sportswear from under the noses of arch rivals Adidas in 1998 was a major coup for Puma, who were quick to spot the bands hypnotic influence over their fans' fashion sense.
"We loved Adidas shoes for so long but then Puma offered us a commercial and free gear", Munky stated, as KoRn donated "Make Me Bad" to a world-wide Puma advertising campaign in 2000. "It was a great deal and we were like 'Wow! We'll take it'."
It was rumored that the quintet's sartorial switch was hastened by a cool $500,00 'sweetener' from Puma. But even that didn't secure the band's affections too long.
"Puma and Adidas became too main stream and weren't cool any more," says Jonathan simply. "Adidas will always be cool but Puma... whatever."
LOOK #3 PONY: "We're all about Pony now," says Jonathan Davis, who, like members of fellow nu-metal titans Limp Bizkit and Staind, is now a shareholder in the company. "Puma and Adidas didn't give a fuck about us at all, we just wore their shit. But Pony we can have anything made. They make my kilts - I have the Pony chevrons down the kilt. They're a really cool company and they're underground."
Created in 1972 as a US competitor to Adidas and Puma, Pony hit a peak of popularity in the early 80's, with the entire cast of the classic 1982 hip-hop movie 'Wild Style' sporting their shoes. Pony was considered such a threat to the dominant European sportswear giants that the firm was bought out by Adidas in 1987. After being sold to a UK company in 1988, however, Pony's fortunes plummeted, only returning to popularity with a re-launch in 2001.
Jonathon Davis now sports his own custom-designed, autographed Pony trainers. Don't go looking for them in the shops though, right now they're strictly for Davis himself.
"It's a true old school shoe," says Davis. "Run DMC were rocking the Adidas, but before that people were wearing these fucking shoes. Pony disappeared, if they hadn't I would have been with Pony in the first place."
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SOLE BROTHERS: The bitter story of Adidas and Puma. The eldest son of a cobbler in the small German village of
Herzogenaurach, Adolf "Adi" Dassler created his first pair of spiked running shoes in 1920 at the age of 20. Four years
later, with his brother Rudolf, Dassler founded the Gebrüder Dassler OHG shoe company, and by 1928, national athletes
were wearing Dassler shoes in the Olympics. In 1936, when Black American athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the
Berlin Olympics, he simultaneously blew apart Herr Hitler's 'master race' theory and handed Adidas a massive publicity
coup, ensuring that they would swiftly become the leading player in the global sportswear industry.
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